Monday, 30 July 2012

Who put the 'M' in Manchester?

This weekend, Kieran and I went up to Manchester to watch Morrissey in his only UK appearance this year. It was my 9th time seeing Moz and the second time I would see him in his hometown of Manchester - as Morrissey himself said, "There's no place like Hulme".

Fans of Morrissey and The Smiths will be aware that Manchester has become a place of pilgrimage for the more dedicated fans who travel there to visit the places referenced in Morrissey's lyrics or see the sites captured on the album artwork. 'Official' tours are available but with a bit of Googling and a handy SatNav you can find your way around and create your own tour. I like to refer to our tour as The Smiths Official Unofficial Smiths tour - catchy.

First stop was arguably one of the most recognisable destinations to any Smiths fan - Salford Lads Club. The club feratures in the sleeve for The Queen Is Dead and has been seen in videos for There Is a Light and Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before.

The Smiths outside Salford Lads (originally photographed by Stephen Wright)

To reach Salford Lads, we used the postcode 'M5 3RX'. It leads you to a dead on a housing estate but you can park at the end and then walk down a path to the club. There seems to be a way of driving right up outside the club but we couldn't figure this out!

We were lucky enough on this occasion to not just have our picture taken outside but be invited in to take a look at The Smiths room inside. A fantastic collection of memorabelia is proudly on display along with adoring messages from fans around the world.

Next up, it was off to the 'iron bridge' as featured in the lyrics of 'Still Ill'. There is dispute over what bridge Morrissey would have been referring to when he sang, "Under the iron bridge we kissed..." but the general consensus seems to be that it is the railway bridge off of King's Road where Morrissey once lived.

This was tricky to find as King's Road is really long. We used the postcode 'M32 8GW' which took us to Kings Road. We then drove up and down trying to find the bridge. There is a newsagent and takeaway at around 490 Kings Road. The bridge can be seen to the left of these as you look at them.

The bridge itself is a huge iron and green monstosity and has been graffitied with lyrics by fans from America, Europe and Australia. You can't actually get underneath the bridge but you can still kiss on it which is almost as good (plus I didn't end up with sore lips).

 Since we were on Kings Road, we made a quick stop off at number 384 - Morrissey's home from the age of 10-24.

Finally, we ended the tour by visiting the cemetery gates of Southern Cemetery. We didn't venture inside as it's important to remember this is still a cemetery and it's important to be respectful. I also doubt very much that we would have found the graves of Keats, Yates or Wilde - Morrissey was certainly using his artistic licence here.

 The day ended at Machester Arena where Morrissey was well and truly on form. His voice sounded great and he was as witty and cutting as ever with asides about the olympics and the Jubilee. The crowd were a typical Moz crowd with the stage invasions hitting their peak during the final song, Still Ill (which seems a fitting end for us since we had spent so much time on the bridge!)

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


When my sister and I attended The Wedding Event with a Difference, we came across a photobooth and had great fun trying it out - turning on the wind machine and pulling faces.

It was a bit expensive and we didn't bother booking as it seemed like a 'nice to have' not a 'need to have'. My sister wouldn't stop going on about it and was really encouraging me to go for it. When I saw they had a sale and an extra hour was offered, I caved in and went for it!

I am really glad we booked it as the staff were great, the photos were great and everyone really enjoyed it. We have a book with all the photos in and you can slowly see everyone getting more and more drunk with every turn of the page!

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying everyone should do this as it is an additional extra (the videographer on the other hand I really recommend you consider) but if you do have a bit left over I think it's worth it! Or, you could even try making your own with a screen, some props from the £1 shop and a polaroid camera!

Anyway, our photos really made us laugh so I just thought I would share a selection...

The meal and party.

To conclude the blogging of the wedding, I thought I would end with the meal, speeches and party. Once again, all photos seen here were taken by Lisa Scott Photography.

We held the reception at Dunchurch Park Hotel in the marquee. We were lucky enough to have the most amazing whether so the marquee was nice and warm (maybe too warm at times). The staff at Dunchurch Park were excellent and saw to our every need. The food was delicious! We served our guests:

Trio of melon with peach sorbet (I was banking on a warm day!)
Roast beef
Trio of desserts - chocolate brownie, creme brulee and strawberry shortcake

Of course, they had much fancier write ups on the menu!

We were also lucky that as we are such fussy eaters, they allowed us to have whatever we wanted to eat. Kieran opted for minestrone soup to start (maybe a bad decision in hindsight given the weather but he still ate every bit) we both had fillet steak and chips for the main and Kieran had ice-cream for dessert.

I stuck to the trio for dessert but wish I hadn't as the creme brulee was disgusting! I think this was more my own tastes than a reflection on the food as everyone else ate it all up!

I was really nervous about the speeches; a little nervous for those speaking but more nervous for myself thinking about what they may say. Luckily, my nerves were unfounded as everyone did an amazing job. My Dad was up first and he was very emotional. This was quite a surprise as he is not overly sentimental but it was lovely. Some of my favourite lines included "I've not lost a daughter, I've gained a bedroom floor" and "I'm not going to welcome Kieran to the family today as he has been a part of this family for a very long time".

Kieran was up next and was a little nervous which was most unusual for him. He also did a great job, re-telling my Dad's story of their first meeting much to the humour of my family and friends. He also said some lovely things about our parents, friends and me.

The best man did a great job and was hilarious! He hid his nerves and really delivered. Fortunately, him and Kieran had many eventful moments that could be recalled and so he wasn't short of material and did so well.

After the meal there was a chance to mingle and get to talk to everyone. Before I knew it, the evening guests were arriving and the disco was starting.

We saved the cutting of the cake until around 8.30pm so everyone could see it. We then when into the first dance - Last of the Ladies by The Courteeners. We are not natural dancers but we made it through!

With all of the formalities out of the way, we danced into the night to all our favourite songs with all of our favourite people. We ate pork and apple rolls and mini fish and chips as well as plenty of wedding cake (tiers of fruit, chocolate orange, raspberry sponge and lemon drizzle) and I made sure I dipped into the chocolate fountain (once I fought my way past my nephews and nieces).

It really was the best day of my life and went past far too quickly. We tried to make sure we took time for ourselves to really take it all in and we do have some amazing memories - I just wish I could do it again and again!

Monday, 9 July 2012

The wedding video.

We met Mark from The Big Day Productions at The Wedding Event with a Difference about 8 months before our wedding. We knew as soon as we saw his videos that he would do a great job and he really didn't disappoint.

On the day, he was professional, discreet and so friendly. He made everyone feel as ease (I didn't notice him a lot of the time) and he had a great sense of humour - he needed it with our friends!

I couldn't wait to get back from honeymoon and see the video and I was absolutely amazed with the finished result. We picked around 8 songs to add to the soundtrack and Mark edited the whole thing so well. It was 40 minutes of magic!

He also captured all of the speeches - it was great to hear these back as well as the ceremony in full (totes emosh!) and the first dance.

As if that wasn't enough, he put together a short highlights clip to one of our favourite songs - The Opener by The Courteeners...

Our highlights

A videographer if often seen as an extravegance and many couples do without. I am not saying it's a must have but I do recommend couples consider it. I don't remember the music as I walked down the aisle, I couldn't see Kieran's face or remember every word of the speeches. I now have them forever and can watch them whenever I like (approximately 17 times at the time of writing!) My flowers have died and my dress is stuffed away but the video remains so I think it was a worthwhile investment. I also can't recommend Mark enough!